As I was thinking about those long periods of between days I mentioned in my last post. The days between appointments (only 1x month for me at the moment.) It occurred to me that there are days where I forget. Not forget the day – though some moments leave my brain fairly soon after they occur – but forget that I’ve got brain cancer. I’m in this fortunate period of time, where I don’t have an active tumor, have few major symptoms, and have been seizure free for over 3 months. I don’t spend as much time writing about my life and experiences or visit Twitter as much – maybe because I’m unsure where I stand. Am I in remission? Is this just a slight break in the battle? Do I have the right to say I’ve got brain cancer? There are days when I forget about the fact that I AM in a constant fight against the beast. It doesn’t mean I’ve forgotten about the others fighting the beast as well.
When I remember, I have some feelings of guilt. Like I’m being selfish for focusing more on my family (which I know is ridiculous to feel guilty about.) But I do feel like I’ve neglected those others, I’ve neglected our connection, I’ve neglected any support I can offer and the support I receive. Through those connections I’ve gained strength in knowing I’m not alone, but I see so many stories of people who’ve lost the battle and those they’ve left behind. I try to avoid those stories because I’m afraid it will hinder my optimism and take away some of my hope that I’ll be around for my family for many years to come. I’m not under any disillusion about my condition, but my support system has gotten me this far by truly believing I will be legendary. I want to be a success story that will inspire others to fight and have hope. I want to survive. I WILL survive (sorry about the ear worm.)
So, there are days I forget. I feel healthy. I listen to the bickering of my children and worry that they’ll do it forever. I laugh at the thoughts and observations that come out of my son’s mouth – making me wonder what the wheels in his brain are doing. I find joy in seeing my daughter get excited about dancing or designing the latest fashions. I relish the moments when I can have conversations with my husband over the nuances of the latest movie we’ve seen. I walk the dog and marvel at his ability to jump 3 feet up a tree in an effort to catch a squirrel – he never catches one, but he never gives up trying.
But the next MRI will come along. I’ll get anxious, as we all do before an MRI. I’ll hope that it will be clear. I’ll think positively. All while I wait nervously for the other shoe to drop, but at the same time trying to convince myself that it won’t.
I’ll come back to Twitter and the connections I’ve made. I’ll never forget that you’re out there fighting too. But sometimes I just need to take a break from the fear and burden of having brain cancer. I’ll manage the conflict of feelings I have as I retreat from the community for just a little while, but I’ll be back. I’ll never forget that this is a group effort.